Leora Sis Hartzell Banak

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Leora Evelyn "Sis" Hartzell Banak passed from this earthly life on Friday, March 7, 2014 while surrounded by her family at her home, exactly where she wanted to be, and where she resided for 56 years. Sis was born on September 5, 1924 in Shippenville, Pa. (Paint Township), the eldest daughter of Joseph McClelland and Mary Ann Baughman Hartzell.

Leora, or "Sis" as she was called by her family because she was the big sister, came to Erie during World War II to work. While in Erie Sis met and married her husband, and then became a full-time homemaker. She enjoyed quilting and made many quilts for her family. She also enjoyed gardening, canning, and baking. Every Sunday Sis listened to her polka music. She took great pride in her home and kept it in tip-top shape. Sis also hosted many lovely picnics, parties, and get-togethers over the years for friends, neighbors, and family where she served her delicious food.

Over the years Sis spent a lot of time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her family was all important to her and her loving presence will be greatly missed. To quote Cardinal Mermillod, "A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take."

Leora was married to her husband, Joe "Sonny" Banak who passed away in 2010 after 65 years of marriage. Besides her husband and parents, Leora was preceded in death by all seven of her siblings. She was the eldest of three sisters. Most recently she lost her last living sibling, youngest sister and best friend, Virginia May Hartzell, "Nook", with whom she talked every single day. Sis was also preceded in death by her other sister, Betty Hartzell Whistner and her five brothers: Glenwood, Russell, Dave, Byrd, and Wade Hartzell.

As her legacy, Sis leaves behind 23 (and counting) wonderful human beings: three daughters: Joanie Kowalewski (Robert) of Erie, Terry Rebar (Mark) of Plattsburgh, N.Y., and Patty Cyphert of Tallahassee, Fla.; ten grandchildren: Robin Kaye Grack (Gary) and Brian Kowalewski (Kristin) of Erie, Tanya Martineau (Brad) of Indiana, Pa., Matthew Rebar (Christina) and Zachary Rebar of Binghamton, N.Y., Adam Rebar of Denver, Colo., Ernie Cyphert, David Cyphert and Stephanie Sego (Jerry) of Tallahassee, Fla., and Tom Cyphert (Melissa) of Las Vegas, Nev.; and ten great-grandchildren: Leah, Quinn, Harrison, Gianna, Aiden, Austin, Crystal, Shannon, J.C., and Stephen.

Friends may call at the Dusckas Funeral Home, Inc., East, 2607 Buffalo Rd., on Monday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. and are invited to attend the funeral service there on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. The Rev. Thomas Brooks, pastor, St. Gregory R.C. Church, will officiate. Interment, Calvary Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be designated to the . To send condolences, please visit www.dusckasfuneralhome.com.

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Dusckas Funeral Home - East Side
2607 Buffalo Road
Erie, PA 16510
(814) 899-7656
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Published in the Erie Times-News on Mar. 9, 2014
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